Center for Ministerial Health welcomes two new area representatives

by Texas Baptists Communications on February 2, 2021 in News

The Texas Baptists Center for Ministerial Health is pleased to welcome two new team members: Kris Knippa, Area Representative for Area 1; and David Vela, Area Representative for Area 2. Both bring years of ministry experience to their role as they seek to help, connect and encourage churches across Texas.

"We are very excited to have Kris Knippa and David Vela join the Texas Baptists Center for Ministerial Health Team as Area Representatives,” Dowell Loftis, director of the Center for Ministerial Health, said. “Both Kris and David have extensive experience in Texas Baptist churches, know the needs in their geographic locations and have a unique understanding of the pressures and responsibilities Texas Baptist pastors face today. We are fortunate to have two men of such high character and ability joining our staff.”

Tim Watson, director of Texas Baptists Area Representatives, agreed with Loftis, and expressed his excitement at the two new team members.

"Both Kris and David have a heart and passion for the fine people of the Panhandle and West Texas. Their education, experience, and longtime relationships will add value to our pastors, churches, associations, and Texas Baptists institutions. We are so grateful God led them to Texas Baptists,” Watson said.

Kris Knippa - Area 1 Representative

Knippa will serve as the Area 1 Representative, where he will serve churches in the Panhandle, including Amarillo, Lubbock and the surrounding towns. His extensive background in ministry includes pastorships in Hale Center, Lorenzo, Earth and Cranfills Gap. Knippa was a member of the Truett Preaching Excellence Cohort and also served on the Texas Baptists Committee to Nominate BGCT Executive Board of Directors.

“I desire to help strengthen the bonds between Area 1 churches and the state convention, I hope to serve and assist the local church by linking it to the great resources and supports of the BGCT, and I endeavor to help Panhandle churches with revitalization and with their numerous opportunities for cross-cultural ministry,” Knippa said.

David Vela - Area 2 Representative

As the Area 2 Representative, Vela will serve West Texas, serving cities and towns such as El Paso, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo and Abilene. Vela, who is from El Paso, has served in ministry for 25 years. He has been a pastor and church starter, as well as the church planting strategist at the El Paso Baptist Association. Most recently, he served as the pastor at Calvario Community Church in Crosbyton and the Associate Director of Missions at Caprock Plains Baptist Association.

“As I begin this new journey at Texas Baptists, my desire is to honor our Lord Jesus through Texas Baptists and be a faithful and efficient resource for the 400 churches in Area 2,” Vela said. “I am tremendously excited about what God is doing and can't wait to see what He will do through Texas Baptists.”

The Center for Ministerial Health invests in Texas Baptist ministers to encourage them towards excellence so they can be their best to serve the Lord and his people. For more information, go to

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

Subscribe to receive stories like this one directly to your inbox.

We are more together.

Read more articles in: News, Great Commission